White House to America's Entrepreneurs: Save us!
I have some employment news to help out Obama: Mojiva’s job growth was 400% last year, and we’re hiring.
Sorta differs with the news out of the White House . The President was looking for some help on the job front from small business and made noise about innovation, and this being our America’s “Sputnik moment. ” Sputnik is right: if he doesn’t get unemployment back down below 8%, his 2012 campaign will fall back to Earth faster than a wounded Millenium Falcon. Factories used to do the job creation thing en masse. That’s so 2007, or maybe 1977. What we need are factories that create… entrepreneurs. Like Mojiva, for example.
Here are a few basics that keep Mojiva so exciting:
- We’re in front of a giant technology wave. That the world is going mobile is no secret. But we saw that coming a few years ago, and positioned ourselves to be available to a variety of different opportunities within that mega trend.
- We innovate. And relentlessly I might add. Not only in product and market, but how we fit in to a constantly evolving ecosystem. It forces us to think ahead and look for big, sustainable opportunities to exploit. Tomorrow’s trend is already passe’.
- We learn and relearn quickly. Game- changing shifts occur constantly in the mobile ad field. While it’s tempting to say “Damn, i wish the old product or process would have lasted a bit longer,” we’re forced to learn the new next thing and grasp it quickly. For more on the concept of quick learning, see Friedman’s’ World is Flat.
And as for the factory that creates these opportunities, the raw materials are simple: great ideas, finance-able entrepreneurs with domain expertise, and access to capital (to see if it works). Three simple gates to run through, though, statistically, very few make it. Those that retry increase their odds (which is uniquely American: shake off the shame of failure and use what’s been learned. Greenspan does a great job covering this in Age of Turbulence).
- Ideas come from two big categories: bottlenecks and convergence. The former are usually big stupid problems that everyone is sick of, and someone just solves, simply. I submit eHarmony as an example. The latter are where platforms and/or technologies collide, and an integrated solution wins the future. I’ll use Mojiva’s early vision that smartphones would become the preferred screen, data usage would skyrocket, thereby making mobile ads the key foundation of the new media ecosystem.
- Finance-able entrepreneurs must be geared for the challenges: beside knowing an industry, they must also know the odds and the sacrifices that come with the slim shot at success. They don’t all work, and they don’t pay well in the short run.
- Access to capital is the third corner of the trinity. In todays digital media space, a small amount of angel can develop a product. And a little more can win you an audience. But more and more capital is required to keep growing, and liquidity is a very distant horizon (though with second market etc. that’s changing). Angels are playing a key role in the earliest stages of this process.
The nation needs factories that create entrepreneurial companies with these ideals. Whether President Obama gets it going in the short term will not change the long term: we’ll still need it.